The Young and the Reckless

By GabbyPA Latest Reply 2012-06-22 11:11:44 -0500
Started 2012-06-08 08:22:10 -0500

By: Diabetes Health

Meagan Esler
Jun 1, 2012

I'm about to tell you a secret that I've kept for 15 years. I know that we all make mistakes with our diabetes, but the one I made back then was literally a wake-up call. While I cringe at telling this unflattering story, I hope that it will help others realize how scary things can get quickly if you ignore your diabetes. Thankfully, the scenario that unfolded all those years ago helped bring me out of my reckless state and showed me the way to a better life with diabetes.

At the time, everyone thought I was just fine. I had a job as a 911 dispatcher and looked perfectly healthy on the outside, but I wasn't taking my diabetes seriously enough. When my roommate told me that he had an extra room at a posh resort in Mexico, I eagerly accompanied him to a week-long vacation in Cancun.

Although I usually didn't drink very often, from the time we landed in paradise I drank heavily nearly every day. I figured that it was vacation, so I sipped pina coladas on the beach at lunch, knocked back glasses of wine at dinner, and drank shots late into the night. I was young and thought that I was having fun. The week went by quickly and my insulin became less and less effective due to the intense heat. I knew my blood sugars were high, but I thought I'd be okay because we'd be home soon. I figured that I'd deal with my diabetes then.

Once home, I stopped at the store to have some photos developed and get my new insulin. I had about twenty minutes to kill before everything was ready. Suddenly, as I was paging through a magazine, everything went dark and I fell, hitting my head on the magazine rack and again on the hard tile floor. I was bruised, unconscious, and alone. A fellow shopper called the paramedics and watched over me until they arrived.

I woke up in the emergency room confused and disoriented. I couldn't recall anything after looking at the magazine. The doctor asked me if I knew why I was there, and I responded that my blood sugar must have gone low. He replied that my sugars had been quite high when they found me and that it must have been something else.

I was forbidden to drive until medical staff figured out what had caused me to lose consciousness. They didn't want me operating a vehicle on the chance that I could black out behind the wheel. I had a frenzy of tests, including a brain MRI and an EKG. My brain, although clearly stubborn, was fine. In fact, they couldn't find anything wrong. That's when I had to come clean with the neurologist about my behavior leading up to the blackout. After I'd confessed the embarrassing details about my carelessness with my diabetes, he agreed that it was probably the cause of my blackout.

Diabetes is dangerous and unforgiving if you choose to ignore it. Waking up in that cold emergency room made me wake up to my responsibility to keep my body healthy. Although the bruising on my face healed quickly, the memories are still there. Young people with diabetes don't think that anything will ever happen to them. I learned never to turn my back on diabetes again.

37 replies

Nana_anna 2012-06-22 11:11:44 -0500 Report

When I worked at the hospital, I had one room, in it was a husband and wife. They were headed home after attending a wedding that weekend. On Sat. the husband who was a diabetic, blacked out while driving. He was hit head on and rolled over into a ditch. His wife suffered a broken leg and arm, but he had little injury. Lucky enough to survive. He addmitted to be tired, and wanted to get home. His wife tried to talk him out of it, but he didn't listen. His blood sugar was 55 in the ER. Not good. It could have killed both of them, but God gave them another change said the husband. He was surrounded with the family and his wife, was reliefed that it wasn't any worse, and that she would be fine. The husband realized that, and it woke him up. It doesn't pay not to pay attention to warnings or people around you.

bigbguywithtype2 2012-06-12 21:30:00 -0500 Report

I know how you feel Gabby. I had a bad black out while driving and rear ended someone and to this day I still don't remember a thing about it. It just bothers me that I can't remember nothing about it it just really sucks!!!!!!!!!

LabRat90 2012-06-11 11:06:41 -0500 Report

Thanks for the reminder. We're planning a cruise for December. I could see this happening to me.

Nick1962 2012-06-11 11:26:08 -0500 Report

Where you headed if I may ask?

LabRat90 2012-06-11 11:48:16 -0500 Report

Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Cozumel, Mexico with some of my sisters and their spouses. We're going to have a ball! But no drinking for me.

Nick1962 2012-06-11 12:00:12 -0500 Report

Cool, the western caribbean! Sounds like fun. We've done the southern and eastern so far, San Juan, Turks and Caicos and such. Really blew my diet in Curacao.

LabRat90 2012-06-11 15:00:38 -0500 Report

My older sister and her husband go on cruises all the time. I never have had the inclination to leave dry land. They're begged us several years. Finallly they offered to pay for it if we would go with them. How could we say no? It's like a guarantee that we will like it or your money back!

Nick1962 2012-06-11 15:11:28 -0500 Report

Depending on the cruise line, it can be a great trip. We didn't want a bunch of kids around, so we went with an "older" line like Holland America and were treated extremely well (even had lunch with the Captain Christmas day). Only drawback is you only spend a few hours or a day in port. On board I had no trouble following a diet, it was the street food in port that I "just had to try" that did me in.

LabRat90 2012-06-11 15:19:26 -0500 Report

We had already planned to order "room service" for sack lunches before the excursions to bypass some of that. All my sisters are diabetic also. I think we're on Carnival Dec 9 - 16. Hopefully the kids will still be in classes. Thanks for the advice.

Nick1962 2012-06-11 15:37:16 -0500 Report

I think that's their Destiny ship - that'll be a good time! You gotta go snorkling at least once!

GabbyPA 2012-06-13 08:11:29 -0500 Report

Ok, you guys are making me jealous. I went to Jamaica years ago and stayed with a friend in Kingston for a couple of weeks, but I have never done the cruise thing. My hubby and I are hoping to one day. We want to cruise to Hawaii.

Nick1962 2012-06-13 08:43:04 -0500 Report

From where you are the caribbean is quite affordable. i think our flight from NC to FLA was almost as expensive as the cruise. It really is a cheap vacation when you consider all meals are included and you don't need a rental car. Only drawback is the limited time in ports.

GabbyPA 2012-06-13 08:56:25 -0500 Report

Not really interested in the cruise as much as the destination. My husband doesn't want to go through TSA because he's in a wheelchair and automatically considered suspect. He is not into having a pat down in any way, shape or form. He wants to go to Hawaii for Pearl Harbor day one year. Some day we will do it.

Nick1962 2012-06-13 09:17:17 -0500 Report

I sure hope you can do it. That trip from FL to HI is a looooong cruise, and can usually include Tahiti and the Marquesas. Never done it, but its on the list. Did really enjoy Bonaire and Curacao though, and the ships we were on were really easy to get around in a wheelchair.

GabbyPA 2012-06-13 09:31:04 -0500 Report

We would go out to California, visit some family and leave from LA or something. Thought going though the Panama Canal would be a lot of fun. There are a lot of places left in the world for me to go, but I think my international days are kind of over now. There is a lot in the states I still have to see.

jimmuel 2012-06-10 13:04:17 -0500 Report

thanks for sharing this,hopefully people will pay attention an learn from it,Its a reminder to us all,thanks agine Gabby

older man
older man 2012-06-10 06:41:05 -0500 Report


GabbyPA 2012-06-13 08:14:07 -0500 Report

It is like posting an article. All the credits and links are in the post so you can go see it for yourself. I don't have this kind of personal story to share, but I think it is important to share it so others can be informed. Personal things like this I don't post in the "news" section because it really isn't "news", but more open for a discussion.

I'm sorry you feel it is spam. I have to say I don't agree with that assessment.

Winkelwoman 2012-06-10 02:05:08 -0500 Report

Gabby so brave of you to share your story. I thank you personally

GabbyPA 2012-06-13 08:16:02 -0500 Report

This is not my personal story, but one I found. I am sorry that it is confusing that way, but the story is a wake up no matter who is sharing it. I hope it helps.

cindygal1 2012-06-09 13:44:48 -0500 Report

When we are young we do not take as serious as we such, you had to learn the hard way. There are many people out there that think the worse when they fine out about diabetes, instead of facing and trying to get everything under control, they worry too much what about the bad things that could happen and not enough of what they should be doing to help control it. Diabetes is a disease that needs to be taken serious and you have to keep up the work of controlling it. I am glad that you turned out all right and learned from you experience.

garrick1967 2012-06-09 07:23:15 -0500 Report

Great story, thank you for sharing …hopefully people will pay attention to it and use it as a learning tool…thanks again…gw

Lizardfan 2012-06-08 17:04:59 -0500 Report

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this painful reminder of your journey with diabetes. I have never been tempted to take a chance like that, too old for one, lol, but you sure gave me something to think about!

GabbyPA 2012-06-08 19:01:00 -0500 Report

This is not my personal story, but a contributor to Diabetes Health. I find when I post some of these kinds of stories in the News section, they get lost and never found. So I posted it here. Sorry for the confusion.

jayabee52 2012-06-08 19:33:34 -0500 Report

yep, at first I thought it was a personal story of yours also, but once I read it more than one time, I discovered it was not your personal story, Gabby.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-06-08 12:13:49 -0500 Report

Gabby I have taken people to the hospital because they ignored their Diabetes and High Blood Pressure. Until some one experiences what you have do they open their eyes. People can be as angry as they want to be or be in denial forever, but in the end, diabetes and high blood pressure will kill you because you chose to be angry or in denial.

There are also those who do not believe anything a doctor tells them. After all they went to medical school and can diagnose themselves. Granted not every doctor is right which is why we have an option to get a second opinion.

I have a friend who thinks burying her head in the sand makes the problem go away. When you bury your head in the sand you leave your butt exposed and it gets kicked all the time. if you stick your head in the sand and think diabetes is going to leave or handle itself, you will find that diabetes is kicking your butt and it will continue to kick harder the longer your head remains in the sand.

People lose vision and limbs, have kidney and other medical problems because they are angry they have diabetes. When I think about it, I think who cares if you are angry because you are diabetic. If you are more focused on being angry about it than taking care of yourself, you are only hurting yourself.

Denial is just as bad. Thinking you don't have to do what you know you should be doing again is only harming you. Your family members and friends are not going to lose vision, limbs, have kidney problems because you are angry or in denial. This will only happen to you and at the end of the day you will suffer for it and make everyone else around you miserable.

If you have a disease where treatment can make you better and by focusing on eating healthy and properly taking care of yourself is what it takes to make you stay healthy as long as possible there are only two options. Take care of yourself and live longer or do nothing and die sooner. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope it helps someone.

GabbyPA 2012-06-08 08:24:37 -0500 Report

I know so often we think we can just ignore that we have diabetes. People don't see it on the outside and sometimes we even forget that it's there. This wake up call for this lady was very dramatic. It is my hope that we don't burn out or think we can overcome a repeated neglect of our condition.

Maybe this can be our wake up call, so we don't have to experience one for ourselves.

Nick1962 2012-06-08 12:00:27 -0500 Report

Been there, done that! Had a great vacation last december (even though it rained most of the time), tried to watch what I ate (well, watched most of it go in my mouth) and did pretty good. Just not good enough.
Between the time we landed at the home airport and the hour it took us to get home, I got very ill. Almost hypo. Spent the next two days just drained of all life.